Friday, December 09, 2011

On Internet Celibacy

So I spent a week (mostly) refraining from partaking of the fruits of the Internet. Facebook, Twitter and my favorite blogs and news sites were avoided. I peeked once in a while, but never more than once a day for a few minutes. Here's what I picked up from the experiment.

Pro: Increased concentration! At the suggestion of a friend, I'm listening to Your Brain At Work. It's a pretty good book discussing the mechanics of brain activity as it relates to things you try to do in the course of a day. Your brain can only juggle a few items of data at a time and trying to hold disparate ones simultaneously makes a hash of everything. Keeping my Droid away from me and not thinking about blog posts made all of my other activities and relationships richer and deeper.

Con: I think my IQ dropped 20 points. How in the world do people who don't read the web know anything at all? The San Diego Union, covering the Euro debt crisis, told you little with the exception of one very nice front page article today. Lots of other big stories were just completely ignored. Not being able to interact with the authors and other readers was weird. I felt like most of the article was missing because there wasn't a comment thread at the bottom.

Conclusion: Discipline will pay off! The web is just too good to miss. So is the rest of the world. Each needs its place and each needs time where you concentrate on just it. When you leave your computer, leave it completely. I'm also going to avoid surfing the web on my phone as much as possible. It's a great alternative to have when there is absolutely nothing else to do, like when you're in a waiting room where the TV is playing daytime rubbish, but for the most part, I'm going to put the thing down and leave it alone.

There were quite a few other observations, but these were the biggest of the bunch.


Rose said...

Balance in all things, grasshoppah.

(if only I could take my own advice.I'd love to be able to stick my head in the sand and NOT KNOW any of what is going on. What a beautiful world it would be.)

Most interesting observation that we find we want to interact with the authors in the "old media" - very interesting indeed, and something I had not thought about prior.

Military Dad said...

I agree with the newspaper portion. The fact that newspapers are failing across the country is normally portrayed as a negative thing about my generation. In reality, it's the fact that newspapers haven't been able to adapt to modern times, and they just aren't able to compete with the near real-time news world of the internet.

I've started leaving my phone in a dish as soon as I walk through the door and try to leave it there unless I get a call. I also try to stay off my computer while the kids are still awake. I do think that the internet is a fairly crucial part of every day life though.

Houston (aka) Tots said...

You make excellent points. We all know this to be true, but it's no wonder people vote for idiots and liars. We can now fact check them in real time for the first time ever and we finally see how badly TV and Print media is failing us.

As was said before l, balance is the key. Once you get it, please share the secret.